KATY, Texas (KTRK) — A new study has shown that Venezuelans are the fastest-growing group of Hispanics across the United States.
Since 2010, in the US, the Venezuelan population has expanded to 169%, according to the Pew Research Center.
From traditional Venezuelan dances on the floor of Stylus Dance Academy to baked goods from their home country in the heart of Old Katy at Pan Pa’ Venezuela, there’s culture, tradition, and pieces of home away from home in a suburb many now refer to as “Katyzuela.”
Jose Vilma, owner of the Venezuelan restaurant El Kourmet, moved to the Katy area in 2009.
He explained to ABC13 that there were maybe 10,000 Venezuelans in the Katy, but that has since more than quadrupled.
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Katy realtor Maria Jimenez is one of those families who has been in the area for 20 years.
“I’m very surprised how the population changed here since I came, and right now, it’s very different,” Jimenez said.
She’s from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and moved to Katy because her husband found work in the oil industry.
A Pew Research study indicates the Venezuelan population in the United States quadrupled from 2010 to 2021.
There are now more than 600,000 Venezuelans who call the US their home.
Most live in Florida, according to a different study.
The second most enormous Venezuelan population is concentrated right here in Texas.
South of us across the southern border, we’ve seen it firsthand as an influx of Venezuelans turn themselves into border patrol custody, hoping to seek asylum.
Another resident, Vilma, said the only option for many Venezuelans is to seek a better life elsewhere because of the turmoil in their native land.
He said he felt eternally grateful for the opportunities the US has provided.
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“The first Venezuelans that came to Houston were engineers related to the oil company,” Jimenez said.
Stylus Dance Academy owner Yibe Gonzalez is from the center of Venezuela’s oil industry, a state called Zulia.
Today, she says Katy feels a lot like her hometown in Maracaibo.
Gonzalez takes pride in showing younger generations in Katy about the Venezuelan culture. She says they’re all reminders of a beautiful life lived before seeking a better future in the United States.
Former oil industry engineer turned bakery owner at Pan Pa’ Venezuela, David Diaz, says many Venezuelans feel their role in the United States is to work hard and well represent their flag.
Their stories mirror those of hundreds in the area, as they bring pieces of their culture, like their music and traditional food like the popular Arepa, to proudly share with the world.
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